Friday, March 29, 2013

Survivor Caramoan Episode 7: A Sinking Ship

The recap title totally encapsulates Bikal tribe as of the moment. With Matt gone from last episode, what do you think the tribe's chances are going into the next competition? Slim, indeed. It was pure irony how the tribal re-shuffle ended up especially as with the way the tribe was split it was designed to supposedly produce an even playing field for all folks concerned. But that discussion is over and done with because a new episode comes in albeit a predictable one and at times a bore.

The Bikal tribe return to camp with Corinne stepping out to apologize to the remaining Fans (because there is still clearly a division within this tribe) about the Matt vote. However, Mike brushed it off saying there was no reason to explain the vote and with Julia confessing that she nearly wet herself. That's probably the only thing she has said this whole season that made me took notice. Moving on... Mike and Corinne had this talk at the shelter about possibly working together come merge time and that Corinne insisted that Mike won't be going home under her watch. Of course, the special agent in Phillip kicks in and he started to became wary of Corinne and her non-disclosure of their conversation. He even pulled Cochran aside to tell him that he's considering getting rid of Corinne, to which Cochran argued against, especially not on the next potential vote. He raised a valid argument to Phillip about looking like traitors to their own alliance, should they end up getting rid of Corinne, and what its repercussion would be as far as their trust to their old alliance mates are concerned. Look here, Cochran talking about loyalty to his alliance. This conversation right here sets up the stage for an episode filled with confessionals that cement Cochran's status as one of the smarter players this season, or in recent memory.

Before we even get to see what went on over at Gota camp (obviously none too exciting because that tribe is currently having Spring break at the Caramoan Islands with all the young and hot castaways), the Bikal tribe receives tree mail indicating a reward challenge. The tribe contemplates what the reward challenge would be like but with the note emphasizing on strength, the tribe becomes leery about their chances going on. And in Phillip's usual bravado, Corinne looked flabbergasted when Phillip claimed he was the strongest man on the island. God, that look in Corinne's face as her jaw almost fell to the ground - priceless! If that's not enough, Phillip went on an arm wrestling match against (who else?) Cochran. He was cocky enough to challenge Cochran to put his entire weight on his forearm and when the poor guy couldn't even beat him, Phillip showed off a cocky yet contained smile. Oh Cochran was happy to oblige, even at his expense, just so Phillip could stroke his own ego.

Hot Pursuit

The reward challenge is another re-do of a Survivor classic. This is one of my favorite challenges of all time and I loved it the moment it was first run on Survivor Palau. This particular challenge tests strength, endurance, and teamwork.

I could not contain my laughter when Phillip was strategizing with his tribemates. He volunteered himself to be at the front because, according to him, he will be dragging the girls along when he's coming from behind whereas him on the front will enable him to pull the rest of the tribe along. Unfortunately, that is not what happened! He ended up slowing the entire team down because he was on the front and he was the slowest. He probably walked the entire length of the course. And the moment he stops to take a deep breath or is incapable to run, he somehow manages to blame it on the girls. If I remember correctly, none of the girls complained! Even Corinne held the freaking 40 pounds when Dawn opted out of the challenge! And Dawn, please don't be afraid to call him arrogant - it was totally called for. Apparently, he likes to declare his strengths but none of his weaknesses.

On the flip side, Malcolm is really stepping up his game this season. He was clearly the leader in that challenge, barking strategy to his tribemates along the way, just like he helped out with the puzzle in last week's challenge. Truly impressive showing! The Gota tribe indulge on all the sweet fix and caffeine as they had a good laugh and were even kissing and hugging each other. Awwww!

But his prowess extends far beyond the physical performance in challenges, though. If Malcolm learned anything from his last stint on Survivor, it's 1) hiding your immunity idol so no one accidentally stumbles into them, and 2) bringing in other equally threatening players so you won't be the first target. In his current tribe of Gota, there are three other guys who might be perceived as physical threats going into the merge. Hence, Malcolm proposes to Reynold about teaming up together, to which the latter willingly obliged like a teenage girl talking to her crush. If shaking on it wasn't enough, Reynold confesses to Malcolm that he has Gota's immunity idol.

I had to cringe when I heard Reynold's confessional that if he's wrong about this alliance, this could be the nail in his coffin. Oops! Well played, there, Malcolm. This makes him the only player in this game to know where the two idols are, and one is in his pocket - safe and sound - and with no intention of telling anyone! I just hope he doesn't get too cocky about how the chips are falling his way right now.

To Throw or Not?

That subheading is a poor attempt at pun, I'm sorry. This was another potentially exciting challenge that any tribe could've ended up winning. To be honest, I think that was one challenge that Bikal could've one, especially with how they performed during the first half. But as the anticlimactic finish featured another ring toss competition, the excitement quickly fizzled out.

Reynold had a decent lead going into the ring toss round. But Phillip caught up to him to a point that he was about one ring behind. But when Reynold got the final ring, it was clear by then that Bikal will make a return to tribal council.

True to Phillip's character, he pulled Cochran aside after the challenge to make a 'confession'. To be honest, I would not have anticipated what he did there! Cochran echoed my opinion in that I do not believe that Phillip threw that immunity challenge. He fought to get all of those rings even when Reynold was about a couple of rings ahead of him. When he could not complete the task, to which he probably stepped on to do, he made a grand stand about throwing the challenge. And then Cochran quipped about the speech that Phillip would've made had he successfully hooked all of those rings and won the challenge for them. Geez. This man never fails at anything, does he?

To cut to the chase... it was either Julia or Mike. Corinne was trying too damn hard to play it down low but you can tell that she was campaigning to keep Mike. This caused a slight rift between the four Favorites at Bikal because they could not seem to reach consensus as to how the votes will be played. Phillip even had to disown Corinne saying that the core alliance at that tribe was him, Dawn, and Cochran. Oooh, sneaky play. What got me confused here is why they are still concerned about an idol to the point that they had to split the votes.

At tribal council, the writing's on the wall and both Julia and Mike knew that their heads were on the chopping block - not even a question. Mike said he just wanted to get to the vote and get it over with. Meanwhile, Julia's answer to Jeff's question regarding how she feels about the upcoming vote pretty much summed up why they ended up voting for her over Mike. And with that, Julia has her torch snuffed and leaving only four Fans left in the game. Before the game started, I had high expectations of Julia and thought she would be a strong female player, physically and strategically. But, whether or not it was editing, I did not see game in her and I can pretty much say that I am slightly disappointed. Still, could not be any happier that Mike survived! I think he will be a potent player during the merge!

Next week, the gross food challenge is back! If the look on the castaways' faces and the looming merge isn't enough tease, what is? Share your thoughts below so we can discuss!

Disclaimer: Photos credit to CBS and Survivor Seasons

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Survivor Caramoan Episode 6: Operation Thunder Dome

After all of the fireworks involved with Brandon's meltdown last week, I feared it will cast a dark shadow over Bikal (the Favorites tribe) and rattle the remaining castaways until the Fans would sneak up behind them to stage a huge comeback. But that is thinking too far ahead, though. The Favorites return to camp and discuss the aftermath of Brandon's tirade. Surprisingly, they appear to have a positive outlook. Even Dawn said it out loud that at least it was a "unified vote". It seemed to only further cement the strong tribe that they already are and not let the remaining six over at the Fans' tribe use this as an opportunity to shift the momentum.

Only a few minutes into the episode, Corinne was ranting about how Brandon singled her out, and Phillip, throughout his tirade. While attempting to wrap her head around the hate that Brandon has towards her, she complained that Dawn did not even said a word to defend her and Phillip in front of all the Fans. I'm still trying to guess, too, how it became Dawn's responsibility to defend her. For now, though, they swore to keep the tribal unity and kick the other tribe until they are down and out.

Meanwhile, the mood at the Fans' camp was sullen. Matt read the treemail indicating that they are heading over to the next reward challenge with a promise of a feast. But as it turns out, the feast did not happen as the tribes were switched instead. Everyone had to dig into a bag of egg at random and they will be assigned to the tribe as per represented by the color of egg they had. The result of the tribal mix-up seemed very odd, though. It was lopsided, to say the least, with Eddie, Reynold, Malcolm, Erik, Andrea, Brenda, and Sherri over at the new Gota tribe. Meanwhile, Matt, Mike, and Julia joined the remainder of the former Favorites tribe. Even Brenda agreed that they do have the advantage.

Before sending them off, Jeff also told the tribes that their bag of rice will be replenished and their flints are going to be replaced. A few years ago, this wasn't even going to happen. If you can recall way back in the season of Australian Outback when the Baramundi tribe had already exhausted their supply of rice. In exchange for a few bags of rice, Jeff had to ask for a trade and they ended up giving away their shelter. Thus, I find it hard to believe that they would just hand out rice that way - maybe they could've put it up as reward for the challenge? Or was it maybe because of the rice-dumping incident last week that tucked into the hearts of the producers and made them decide to hand out rice that easily? Somewhere, Brandon's smile must've been wiped off his face.

Typical Eddie goes on his rant, once again, about how they have the young, good looking people on their tribe. When will he stop? Nonetheless, the "bold and beautiful" tribe (according to Cochran) claimed they can't lose a challenge because they have the strong and athletic tribemates at Gota. Reynold could not have been more excited about the tribal shuffle. He was earlier seen giving a confessional asking for the game to shift because nothing is shifting in his old Gota camp. Wish granted right there. This feels like Day 1 for him and Eddie and they could not have waited longer to throw Sherri under the bus. Malcolm and Erik are in heaven about the idea that the former Fans' tribe members were spilling the beans to them without them even trying. Same goes for Sherri at the beach. She basically sold Reynold to the Favorites and even told them about playing his idol.

Malcolm, on the other hand, does a magnificent job of keeping his idol on the down low. Andrea told him about her dream that he had the idol, to which he vehemently denied. But he does it so casually that no one would've even suspected him of lying because he proudly claimed he is an "accomplished liar when it comes to women". What a charmer! They went on to map out their plan to split the votes in order to flush an idol, if either of the former Gota tribe members had it.

The immunity challenge was another classic - we've had several re-hash of the previous challenges this season. Thankfully, the puzzle element is finally back! Judging by the dynamics of this challenge, it was clear to see that Gota had a huge advantage as the crates were huge and heavy so it required brawns to tackle the first leg of the challenge. Gota did not mess around with Eddie and Erik setting a huge lead for the team, whereas Julia and Phillip struggled right off the bat. With each leg, Gota increased their lead and Malcolm's leadership at the puzzle portion proved to be the nail in the coffin. A clear breakdown in communication further ruined Bikal's slight chance of catching up.

Always the one quick to jump into the center of the conversation, Phillip gave some pep talk to the tribe upon return from the immunity challenge. But it wasn't long until they break up into groups trying to decide how they are going to approach this coming vote at the tribal council. Phillip approached both Matt and Mike wherein he told them about his Stealth 'R Us crew. He just wouldn't let up, would he? Matt basically voiced out my thoughts after Phillip briefed him of his mission, which (according to Phillip) also serves as his "test" if he is worthy enough to be inducted into the Stealth 'R Us alliance. He had a hard time keeping a straight face as I did containing my laughter listening to Phillip's antics. This guy is pure gold. Crazy, but pure gold.

For the first time in a long time, I am completely clueless about who is going home tonight. The editing needs a pat in the back for setting us up for a surprise. But Cochran earns a nod tonight for a smart strategic move in pointing out that the power duo of Mike and Matt need to be broken up. On the flip side, I thought that it would be Julia because this is the most amount of confessional and speaking lines she's had to date. The Favorites were also conflicted about which way to send the votes as they fear an idol might come into play. Again, Cochran was spot-on with his observation as he noted that Matt can't have the idol because he "reeks of desperation". Thus, I believe that Cochran had a huge hand in how the voting went down tonight. When I saw that Matt and Mike's vote for Julia were the only ones shown (along with Julia's vote for Dawn), I knew that something is definitely up. As Jeff read the first vote on Matt, it was clear right there and then that his torch was so close to getting snuffed.

This was a total blindside, not just for Matt, but for me as well. Kudos to the editors for playing us along!

Did you think this was a smart move for the new Bikal, especially since they are already at a disadvantage when it comes to challenge strength? Be sure to share your comments so we can discuss.

Disclaimer: Photos credit to CBS

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Survivor Caramoan Episode 5: Persona Non Grata

Last week was personally devastating for me because I've lost one bet off of my favorites list. Laura has been one of my favorites on the Fans tribe but the game moves on, albeit without her, and because Jeff Probst hyped this episode shamelessly on Twitter and anywhere else online, I knew I had to tune in. And boy was it as crazy and momentous as Jeff claimed it would be!

I knew when casting was revealed that Brandon is going to bring in drama with him in one form or another. But I never expected it to be this chaotic. Given what he did, I just gained a whole new level of respect for how Russell played this game. Brandon's is just characterized by delirium and bipolarity. Clearly, there is some internal conflict brewing in there.. but more on that later.

During the first part of the episode, we then get another shot of the Fans tribe as they head back to camp from Tribal Council. It was a completely different mood than last time. Eddie and Reynold were all about kissing the others' behind, saying that they are going to rampage the Favorites from here on out. Hey, I love the unity and all, but Reynold is here to play this game. I don't see him being all nice to the other fans who screwed him over one too many times. Hopefully, the decision to get rid of Laura would not turn out for naught.

Still on the Fans camp, the rest of the tribe went on a mad hunt for the idol after Reynold played it last time. And while everybody else were digging and looking into branches and trees, Reynold effortlessly found it in a tree branch. Seriously?! Are the producers getting too lazy and uncreative that idols are that easy to find without even a single clue?

Also, I am against the idea of re-playing an idol once it was used during tribal council. I would probably only agree to do that in the instance that the person with the idol got blindsided. But since he already used it, why put out another idol? I understand that it does add another layer of complexity into the game but you have to allow the game to take its natural course. With Reynold finding the idol, this will give him enough leverage coming into the next episode as there might be a tribal shuffle coming our way. That is, if he is wittier than the last time when it comes to managing the idol. But since Laura is gone, he doesn't have to worry about anybody else checking out his bulges anymore.

Reward Challenge: Nut Bucket

The reward challenge involved two members from each team hanging on to a rope that is tied to a basket. The other four team members competing in this challenge are tasked of shooting coconuts into the basket until it gets too heavy for either one of the two to hold on to. We've seen this challenge from the original Fans vs Favorites and it had an exciting finish, although this one is slightly different because whereas the original Fans vs Favorites had four people hold on to one rope, this time around each tribe member has their designated baskets to carry.

It was a close fight, once again, with Brandon letting go of the rope first. However, all of the Favorites designated to shoot the coconuts had an equally good performance amongst themselves. Thus, it wasn't long after Brandon let go that Matt followed, too. Sherri was horrible at shooting the coconuts and was easily distracted by Phillip's antics. Nonetheless, Phillip was again the hero for the Favorites as he outlasted Mike.

Sherri was fuming mad about how the reward challenge turned out. She contemplates on whether voting off Laura was indeed the right move for them because they did not pull through with the reward even when they decided to keep the muscles.

The Big Meltdown

The preview following last week's episode promised a historic moment, not just for the season but for the game in general. We all should've seen the Brandon Hantz meltdown coming. But nobody would've been able to predict its magnitude. The first half of the episode set up the instability of Brandon's character, something of which is no secret to those that had been watching this season and that of his previous season. He went on this grand stand about possibly volunteering to exit should they go to their next tribal council after feeling remorse towards the idea of leaving his family behind. Sure, I buy that he truly cares for his family, but as Malcolm points out, that is something he should've given more forethought into before agreeing to return and play this game.

The morning after, in typical Brandon Hantz style, he snapped out of it and realized that he will want to continue playing the game because he's doing it for his family. Weh. There's a lot of foreshadowing going on here. First, he confesses about planning to burn down the camp and peeing in the rice, to which Corinne responded (via confessional) that if he had these thoughts, then she wants him out of the camp immediately because there is no telling what he'd do next. Plus, it is only a matter of time when something does happen!

The feud between Brandon and Phillip has always been there since the start. It started off when Brandon fell on the wrong side of the numbers that led to Francesca's ouster and him being outdone by the Stealth 'R Us that Phillip had started at the Favorites' camp during the first week. Then, Phillip told him that he is still at mid level management and not officially part of the Stealth 'R Us alliance just yet. Just when things were cool between them (Phillip even named him "The Conqueror") and Brandon initiated the apology, he catches word about Phillip's plan to throw the immunity challenge just so they can get rid of him. And from there, it basically was a domino effect. And when you have someone who is as unstable, unpredictable, and has "demons" (as Andrea would claim here), they're bound to snap eventually. Which is exactly what happened to Brandon!

To be fair, Brandon raised some valid points during his argument with Phillip. It was true that Phillip's Stealth 'R Us alliance is not just childish, but delusional to some extent. None of his tribemates liked their name but they just played along with it. Also, it was true that he made it to the finale during the Redemption Island season because Boston Rob carried him there, not out of his own merit or doing. But still, the ends does not always justify the means.

The Favorites forfeited the immunity challenge so that the Fans can get a free pass and they can get rid of the team's poison - Brandon. The tirade was as intense as we've seen on Survivor. I think Jeff Probst did a marvelous job of keeping things in order because Brandon was so close to getting physical (even he admitted it). Dawn probably said it best that "Brandon wasn't best for the tribe".

Brandon's meltdown this episode should be a lesson for the show's producers - he never should've been invited back to play the game. EVER. He was clearly unstable, mentally speaking. He is no Russell Hantz. He did not even exhibit the makings of a good player, to begin with, for him to merit an invite for another shot, except for the fact that he is a Hantz. The odd thing about this whole tirade is how Brandon repeatedly would claim that he wants to be the author of his own fate. Well, didn't do a good job there, buddy. If dumping rice and beans in a game of Survivor isn't stupid enough, he dug his own grave by claiming that he voted himself off the first time by giving away his immunity necklace as if it were a badge of honor.

With Brandon gone, the other Favorites can heave a sigh of relief knowing that there won't be anyone to sabotage them anymore. But the real question is: will this break their momentum or can this fuel them to fight even harder?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Survivor Caramoan Episode 4: Kill or Be Killed

The latest episode of Survivor Caramoan: Fans vs Favorites 2 was everything it was made to be.. and then some. Unlike last episode, this one was unpredictable, had more exciting challenges, and the same amount of drama. Shall we get started?

Post-Tribal Council

For the second straight time, both Eddie and Reynold return from tribal council feeling shocked and betrayed. Eddie was more vocal about it and chose to confront Sherri about where the tribe plans to go from there. When the talk of strength came into the picture once again, he pointed to Laura saying, "why is she still sitting there?", as if she wasn't even there. He reverts back to his douche self saying that Hope was voted off because she was the "prettiest" out there and that they felt "threatened". I had to do a double take just to make sure he really said that. Then, the two pretty boys went on a speech about the team being crippled in challenges without them because they, obviously, are the two strongest! Mike retorted with what I believe is one of the best things he ever said in the game to date: "We are not winning even with you guys!" Gawd, I love Mike.

Stealth R' Us New Recruits

During the second episode, Phillip had solidified his alliance of Stealth R' Us by naming the members of his alliance: Malcolm the Enforcer, Andrea the Eliminator, Corinne the Dominatrix, Dawn the True Grit, and Cochran the Inteligencia Atache. And of course, he is the self-proclaimed the Specialist. But he has pulled Brandon in to that claiming that he honors how he has excelled in recent challenges. And with that, he welcomes Brandon into the Stealth R' Us alliance as The Conqueror. Then, he goes on to dub Erik as The Silent One and Brenda as Serenity. Andrea isn't too happy about how liberal Phillip is in terms of assigning the others names. But this has temporarily sealed the unity within the tribe. However, this does not flatter Brandon the least bit. In fact, he is laughing behind Phillip's back about what a sucky special agent he might be for not seeing through the fact that he is merely playing along.

Reward Challenge and Tata The Bushman

This is another reinvented Survivor challenge that played out really well. I think the reason that the producers decided to bring it back is because this one requires true teamwork. The fans and favorites were forced to work together in order to win the reward. More than anything, it highlighted what a weak player Laura is in challenges. She is marked with tentativeness, timidity, and can't even balance for her life's sake! On the opposite end, Brenda and Andrea are attacking this challenge like they're known for. They had no trouble manuevering the platform, giving the favorites a slight edge heading into the final stage of the challenge, which is to get all of the tribe members up on the final platform.

Shamar had a pretty dumb strategy going into the last leg of the reward challenge. He crouched on top of the platform asking the girls to "get on top" of him. Uhm, you have approximately 2x2m platform that all 8 tribe members need to get on top of, and then you take up the whole floor space? Wow! Smart thinking Shamar! That left the others with barely any spot to place their foothold on! And to make matters worse, he screamed like a mad man when Jeff proclaimed the winner. Apparently, he thought he was on the favorites tribe. And when he realized that the other team won, he characteristically said, "I didn't win?". Yes, you're the  only one who competed in this freaking challenge, Shamar!

Over at the Bikal camp, Tata the Bushman stole the show. He was as animated as can be - even Cochran pointed out that they not only received a great meal for a reward, but also a great show! The Filipino Gollum is how Malcolm described him, which is definitely quite fitting with how he spoke enigmatically with his Gollum-esque voice. Man, that was a great reward! As Corinne pointed out in her confessional, it was a good reward because it is something that they can use and benefit from down the road, rather than sitting down to a meal that will last for only a few hours.

The End of the Shamar Show

Shamar goes back to his old ways when they returned to camp from the reward challenge - lying around at the shelter. When we thought we've seen the toll of his annoyance factor, he declared that his tribe mates should serve him rice once a day so he wouldn't quit. This was met with glares and confused stares from the others who listened to him as he walked off the shelter. Poor fans. They couldn't believe what they just heard!

If that's not enough, he also complained of a bamboo or sand (or whatever!) getting into his eyes causing him to itch and rub it. The following day, Shamar's eyes got really sore and he claimed that he cannot even open it without feeling pain. This prompted Probst to bring in medical team to check on him. After initial examination, the doctors decided to pull him from the game so he could go and see a specialist. Even when Shamar was annoying me, I felt for him as he teared up while Jeff was asking him about the doctor's decision to get him out of the game. Reynold and Eddie might've been relieved to see him go out that way because that means one less worry for them in terms of the numbers. But these two had a lot of work to do before they can whizzle their way back in because at this point the numbers are still lopsided at 5 and 2.

Immunity Challenge

This week's immunity challenge is another Survivor classic. Love the fact that there are more water challenges nowadays than we had at the same point during Survivor: Philippines and even in recent seasons. This same challenge was also ran at the original Fans vs Favorites edition. Right off the bat, the Favorites took advantage as they had five really good swimmers perform at this leg of the challenge. Meanwhile, Sherri screwed up at the beginning when she did not release the key on her first jump. By the time the favorites got all of their keys, they are one leg ahead of the fans. Laura once again proved to be a liability in the challenge as she had trouble doing the easiest part of the challenge - undoing the locks. I love Laura but it is hard to hide her weakness in the competition with so much blunders.

Once again, the final leg involved some kind of tossing. Again, I won't stop my petition for a puzzle or a change-up at the final leg of these challenges. It is quickly getting redundant! Reynold was once again the Fans' go-to guy - he must be a throwing champion, or what? He quickly caught up to the lead that the Favorites established. But the Favorites ended up winning their third immunity challenge in a row with the fans getting beatdown as they had to vote one more person despite having already lost one due to a medical evacuation.

Loyalty vs Strength

With Laura's weakness in challenges exposed, her own alliance (mainly Matt and Mike) are now contemplating on turning against her. The Cool Kids alliance have trickled down to the last two - Eddie and Reynold. Ironically, these are the two strongest performers in the competition. Hence, it is hard for the tribe to vote them off knowing that they will be further crippled in the challenges given the way the Favorites are currently dominating them.

Mike made a very important point as he contemplate the vote. He was leaning more towards keeping Laura because he trusts her - she is part of their core alliance. Meanwhile, Reynold is way too dangerous and there is too much bad blood brewing between the two guys versus the rest of the tribe that it is hard to tell if they can be trusted to work with them in the future. Also, one must not dismiss the fact that he still has the hidden immunity idol so that is a very powerful tool that can work against them. It is a tricky dilemma that they are dealing with here. Even Sherri is not on board with the plan.

During tribal council, Laura made a strong case for herself. And this is why I love Laura - you can tell that she knows a lot about the game. She pointed out the possibility of a switch pre-merge and even though both Eddie and Reynold might help them out in the challenges, there is always a black cloud rising above these two guys in terms of their loyalty to the fans. Meanwhile, she guarantees that loyalty to her alliance and questions if the other two can make the same reassurance. Once again, Reynold and Eddie makes their only argument - keeping the strength to win challenges or else they are going to be back at tribal council anyway.

Before the votes were read, Reynold presented his hidden immunity idol to Jeff. Uh-oh. Pure paranoia there. Reynold ended up getting played because he did not need to use the idol as Laura's was the only vote for him. And there goes the alliance... as Mike had said. 

Strategically, the decision to get rid off Laura made little sense to me. She made a strong argument earlier that I think the rest should've paid more attention to. In a game that is clouded with uncertainty, a switch could happen right after the bend and these two are sure to flip sides if they had the chance (if they're smart). Laura is a sure vote for Sherri and co.'s alliance. But Matt strongly campaigned to keep the tribe strong and that meant sacrificing Laura. And that officially means I have one bet off of my list. Insert sobs here.

Next week...

Wow, I've never been so intrigued by the "Next time on Survivor" preview like I did for this episode. Brandon has officially gone mad! Completely out of control! Some fans had pointed out that we haven't seen much of the Favorites tribe in the last two episodes and this might be a case of getting what you asked for! I sure am not going to miss that as it goes down...

What are your thoughts on this episode? Feel free to discuss below.

All images credit to

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Survivor Caramoan: Fans and Favorites Bets

It's been three episodes in and I know that I should've done this earlier. But, better late than never. There is also an advantage to writing about my picks for this season after three episodes because that would've given me more ground to cover, in terms of analyzing their physical, social, and strategic games up to this point. 

If you've read about my earlier post, then you might know by now that my pre-show bets were rather disappointing. Allie went second and Eddie has not shown any strategic side to his game at all, even making himself sound like a douchebag by naming their alliance the "Cool Kids" club

Gota - Fans Tribe

Laura Alexander - If you've read my earlier assessment of her, you would be surprised that I've listed Laura here. Even I was surprised at myself. But she impressed me. During the first episode, we didn't get to see much of her. But the next two episodes gave us a peek into her strategic game and boy is she smarter than she initially appeared (oops!). Her ploy to try and switch the votes up last episode was a smart move to seal in the vote for Shamar (from the remainder of the Cool Kids alliance) and deviated it from her, who was clearly the weakest link at the reward/immunity challenge. If we can get more puzzles at the upcoming challenges, she might prove her worth in the challenges as she claims to be good at puzzles. Until then, she has found herself in a solid majority alliance at the Fans tribe, so she is looking good at this point.

Sherri Bentham - Sherri is another surprise for me - I initially thought that she will have a hard time fitting in because she's the oldest of all the females in the tribe. But with Allie gone, she is now their strongest female. That makes her a valuable member of the tribe. Also, she is leading the pack of their six-person alliance and even recruited annoying Shamar into their clique. If Sherri can continue to strategize to put herself on the number's side, then she can potentially do well deeper into the game (if she can make it that far!).

Michael Snow - Yes, another surprise! With every episode, I am getting to like Mike even more. I do think he's doing a great job right now. He has established a two-person alliance with Matt (who I cheer for as well, but only for likability not entirely for his gameplay) and chose to go with the alliance of Sherri, Shamar, Laura, and Julia to get the numbers advantage. The key move for Michael is the fact that he is letting Sherri do all the dirty work until it is time for him to go to work.

Reynold Toepfer - In my cast assessment of the fans, I said that I will keep an open mind about Reynold's game because I can't get a read on him. So far, he's been quite impressive at challenges and at the strategic side of the game. The only downside to his game is that he got off on the wrong foot with the Cool Kids Alliance. His closest allies are now being picked off one by one and if it weren't for his strength at challenges, he might've been gone, too. He also found the hidden immunity idol at the Fans' camp, which he pointed out as being a pocketful of kryptonite. It'll be interesting how and when he uses that.

Bikal - Favorites Tribe 

John Cochran - Coming into this season, I am surprised that I have come to like Cochran during the first few episodes. He has become such a lovable character this season. No longer as awkward as in South Pacific, but still awkward. But I guess that comes with his package. If he can get the right alliance, I think he has a very good chance. He is a non-threat at challenges and he is a joy to be around. Unless he sucks at the challenge so much as to cost them a trip to tribal council, I think he is safe going into the merge.

Andrea Boehlke - She is one of the stronger females on the Favorites tribe when it comes to challenges. And I think the biggest advantage that Andrea has coming into this game is the fact that she played with and learned from Boston Rob. The only fear I have about Andrea's game is that she is playing too hard and too aggressive at such an early point. If she puts herself out there, there will always be a danger of being an early target. If she can dodge the bullet, I think Andrea has good chances to go deep.
Malcolm Freberg - Do I even need to explain? Malcolm has played the best game he could during his stint on Survivor: Philippines, except for the slight hiccup at the end with Denise and failing to win the final immunity challenge. He promised to play the exact same way he did last time but with slight modifications. But it will be challenging given that it's a different set of players he's going up against with this time. But I count on Malcolm to play smart. Finding the hidden immunity idol is just another ace in his game.

What did you think of my picks?